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Frenkie de Jong

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Frenkie de Jong
De Jong playing for Barcelona in 2021
Personal information
Full name Frenkie de Jong[1]
Date of birth (1997-05-12) 12 May 1997 (age 27)[2]
Place of birth Gorinchem, Netherlands
Height 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)[3]
Position(s) Central midfielder
Team information
Current team
Barcelona
Number 21
Youth career
2003–2005 ASV Arkel
2005–2015 Willem II/RKC
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2015 Willem II 1 (0)
2015–2017 Jong Ajax 46 (8)
2015Willem II (loan) 1 (0)
2016–2019 Ajax 57 (4)
2019– Barcelona 151 (12)
International career
2012 Netherlands U15 1 (0)
2014–2015 Netherlands U18 5 (1)
2015–2016 Netherlands U19 8 (0)
2016 Netherlands U20 2 (0)
2017 Netherlands U21 6 (1)
2018– Netherlands 54 (2)
Medal record
Men's football
Representing  Netherlands
UEFA Nations League
Runner-up 2019 Portugal
*Club domestic league appearances and goals, correct as of 03:54, 21 April 2024 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals, correct as of 22:22, 10 September 2023 (UTC)

Frenkie de Jong (Dutch pronunciation: [ˈfrɛŋki ˈjɔŋ];[4] born 12 May 1997) is a Dutch professional footballer who plays primarily as a central-midfielder for La Liga club Barcelona and the Netherlands national team. Considered as one of the best midfielders in the world, De Jong is known for his vision, passing, dribbling, attacking-prowess and technique.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12]

De Jong began his professional career at Willem II in 2015. He transferred to Ajax for a fee worth €1 a year later. The fee was symbolic and offset by a sell-on clause. At Ajax he established himself as one of the best young midfielders in Europe, after winning a domestic double and reaching the Champions League semi-finals. De Jong won the Eredivisie and KNVB Cup, was Eredivisie player of the season, and was an instrumental part of Ajax's first UEFA Champions League semi-final appearance in 22 years, in a breakthrough 2018–19 season.

During his breakthrough season, De Jong agreed to sign for Barcelona in January 2019, leading him to be signed for the club in July, for a fee worth €75 million. De Jong was selected to the 2019 FIFA FIFPro World11 and was one of three Dutch players to feature in it for the first time in five years.

De Jong made his senior international debut for the Netherlands in September 2018. He became a starter in the inaugural UEFA Nations League, in which Netherlands finished runners-up. He also represented the side at UEFA Euro 2020 and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Early life and career[edit]

Frenkie de Jong was born on 12 May 1997 in Gorinchem and grew up in Arkel, a town in the province of South Holland. His parents, Marjon Schuchhard-de Bruijn, who works in home care, and John de Jong, a community service officer working with parking restrictions, named him after the British pop band Frankie Goes to Hollywood.[13][14][15] He has a younger brother, Youri de Jong.[15] Frenkie de Jong started playing football at six years old when his father enrolled him at the local amateur club ASV Arkel.[16] At eight, De Jong was scouted by the professional club Willem II, where he progressed through the shared youth academy of Willem II and RKC Waalwijk.[16]

Club career[edit]

Willem II[edit]

De Jong signed his first professional contract with Willem II on 1 August 2013, aged sixteen.[16] On 10 May 2015, De Jong made his Eredivisie debut against ADO Den Haag, two days before his eighteenth birthday. He was substituted in the 68th minute for Terell Ondaan in a 1–0 home win over ADO Den Haag.[17][18]

Ajax[edit]

De Jong playing for Ajax in 2019.

At the beginning of the season, on 22 August 2015, Ajax purchased De Jong. He signed a four-year contract, for a symbolic €1 million fee which included a 10% sell-on bonus. On 23 August 2015, he was loaned back to Willem II until 31 December 2015. During this time he made one substitute appearance in an Eredivisie match against PEC Zwolle.[19]

2016–2019: Development and first-team regular[edit]

For the first two years at Ajax, De Jong was in and out of the first team squad. After returning to the club in January 2016, de Jong made 15 appearances in the 2015—16 Eerste Divisie for Ajax II. He primarily played in the centre of a three-man midfield and scored two goals. The following year, he was awarded the 2016–17 Eerste Divisie's Talent of the season award for his performances with Ajax II for whom, he made 31 first team appearances and played as a central, and defensive, midfielder.[20][21][22]

He made his senior debut against Sparta Rotterdam coming on, in the 88th minute, for Lasse Schöne. In total, he made four senior appearances for Ajax, and scored one goal against Go Ahead Eagles, in the 2016—17 season. He started one game, came off the bench thrice, and was an unused substitute in 13 games. He also made his European debut and made four substitute, and three bench, appearances, in the 2016–17 Europa League. He came off the bench in the 82nd minute against Manchester United in the final. It was Ajax's first European final in 21 years.[23][24]

Aged 20, he made 26 appearances for the first team. Primarily he featured as a center-back, in a back four, alongside national teammate Matthijs de Ligt due to the departure of Davinson Sanchez. He also played in a three-man center-midfield. He recorded eight assists in 22 league appearances and received two yellow cards. Towards the end of the season he was injured—tendonitis, syndesmotic ligament tear, hairline crack in calf bone—and missed three months. De Jong made two substitute appearances in the 2017–18 Champions League qualification, as Ajax lost on away goals against Nice (3–3) in the third qualifying round.[25]

In the 2018–19 season, he primarily played in the middle of a three-man midfield. De Jong was the Eredivisie player of the month in December (2018) and February (2019)—in which he completed 354 of 390 passes and made 53 ball recoveries. Later that month he received praise from Rafael Van Der Vaart, who said De Jong was among the best players in Europe with the ball at his feet. It is unclear whether during or prior to the beginning of the campaign he rejected an offer from Tottenham Hotspur, saying the "moment wasn't right," and wanted to play a full season in his preferred position at Ajax.[26][27][28]

De Jong achieved success, and widespread recognition, during the 2018–19 season and led Ajax to their first domestic double (league and cup) since the 2001–02 season. Ajax wrestled with PSV Eindhoven all season for the league, and finished the last five weeks at the top of the table. He made 51 total appearances and starred in Ajax's first leg (0–1) win over Tottenham Hotspur in the 2018–19 UEFA Champions League semi-final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium—in which De Jong had the most touches by any player on the pitch (87) and an 86.2 percent pass completion rate. It was the first time Ajax made the tournament semi-final since 1997. The team eliminated Juventus (3–2 on agg.) in the quarterfinals and Real Madrid (5–3 on agg.) In the second leg of the semi-final, Ajax lost 2–3 at home and were knocked out on away goals to English club Tottenham Hotspur. De Jong was selected to the 2018–19 UEFA Champions League squad of the season and voted the tournament's midfielder of the season.[29][30]

Barcelona[edit]

On 23 January 2019, La Liga club Barcelona announced the signing of de Jong on a five-year contract, effective from 1 July 2019, for an initial fee worth €75 million. De Jong had transfer discussions with Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Manchester United before ultimately opting for Barcelona.[31][32] He made his competitive debut on 16 August 2019, in a 0–1 opening day defeat to Athletic Bilbao.[33]

He played a crucial role in the 2021 Copa del Rey final, a 4–0 win over Athletic Bilbao, scoring in the 63rd minute and assisting two further goals.[34]

Following the departure of club captain Sergio Busquets, de Jong became the fourth captain of Barcelona on 21 July 2023.[35]

International career[edit]

Youth[edit]

De Jong made eight appearances for the Netherlands under-19 team, with his debut coming against Russia on 7 July 2015.[36] He made six appearances and scored one goal for the Netherlands at under-21 level.[37]

Senior career[edit]

2018–2019: Early senior career[edit]

In August 2018, De Jong received his first call-up to the Dutch senior squad for a friendly match against Peru,[38] eventually debuting in said match as a half-time substitute to Giorginio Wijnaldum on 22 September of the same year.[39] Three days later, he started for the first time in a 2–1 loss to France in the league phase of the 2018–19 UEFA Nations League.[39]

In June 2019, De Jong was included in the Netherlands' squad for 2019 UEFA Nations League Finals, where he was named as Young Player of the Tournament as the Oranje finished as runner-up to hosts Portugal.[40] The same year in September, De Jong scored his first senior international goal in the Netherlands' 4–2 victory against Germany in UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying.[41]

2020s[edit]

In June 2021, De Jong was included in coach Frank de Boer's squad for UEFA Euro 2020. He played in all three group matches, as well as the Netherlands' 2–0 loss to Czechia in the round of 16.[42]

In November 2022, De Jong was included in the Dutch squad for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. On 29 November, he scored his first World Cup goal in a 2–0 win over tournament host Qatar in the team's final group match.[43] On 9 December, he played the full 120 minutes as the Netherlands lost in a penalty shootout to eventual winners Argentina at the quarter-final stage.[44]

In June 2023, De Jong was part of the Netherlands' squad for the 2023 UEFA Nations League Finals, where he played the full match against both Croatia in the semi-final and Italy in the third place play-off.[45][46] De Jong was named in the Netherlands' squad for UEFA Euro 2024,[47] but had to withdraw due to an ankle injury.[48]

Style of play[edit]

"With his talent, at his age, he could become a Xavi or an Iniesta."[49][50]

—Former Netherlands international and Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars on De Jong

Frenkie has described himself as a player "who likes to have the ball a lot, and play possession." A versatile player, De Jong can function as a regista, defensive-midfielder, central-midfielder, holding midfielder, box-to-box midfielder and centre-back. He has been lauded for his combination of defensive stability and playmaking ability. He often partnered Matthijs de Ligt at centre-back, at Ajax. As a centre-back, he abstained from committing fouls, showed great positional sense, and won possession frequently. In this more defensive role, his performances led to comparison with former German sweeper Franz Beckenbauer and likened his tendency to progress forward in possession, and ability to play-make, from defense to the German legend.[51][52][53][50][54][55][56]

"We saw the other day De Jong is a footballer who can mark an era in Barcelona. He is able to dominate the game, he sees it easily and doesn't lose the ball. He also makes sacrifices to work defensively. I think they are top-level players, very good for Barca."

—Former Barcelona midfielder Xavi on De Jong[57]

De Jong's vision has been praised alongside his ability to dribble in narrow spaces, control over possession, and decisive passing. A natural dribbler, De Jong has the highest dribbling success of all players to participate in all competitions, during his last season with Ajax.[58][59] An extraordinary game-reader, he often makes offensive runs through the middle.

His other attributes include a penchant for long cross-field passes, creating space, and absorbing attacking pressure. His close control, accuracy, work rate, and movement has drawn comparisons with Andrés Iniesta and Johan Cruyff. At Barcelona, he has primarily played on either side of a three-man central midfield. This has led experts and former players to regard him as a player with "Barça DNA" who was "born to play for Barcelona."[54]

Personal life[edit]

Since he started playing professionally, De Jong has chosen 21 on his shirt as a tribute to his grandfather who was born on 21 April.[24][60][61]

De Jong met his wife Mikky Kiemeney in high school and they have been together since 2014. The couple became engaged in July 2022, and married in May 2024.[62] [63] The couple have a son, Miles de Jong, born on 21 November 2023. [64]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of match played 21 April 2024[65]
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League National cup[a] Europe Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Willem II 2014–15 Eredivisie 1 0 0 0 1 0
2015–16 Eredivisie 1 0 1 0 2 0
Total 2 0 1 0 3 0
Jong Ajax 2015–16 Eerste Divisie 15 2 15 2
2016–17 Eerste Divisie 31 6 31 6
Total 46 8 46 8
Ajax 2016–17 Eredivisie 4 1 3 0 4[b] 0 11 1
2017–18 Eredivisie 22 0 2 1 2[c] 0 26 1
2018–19 Eredivisie 31 3 4 0 17[c] 0 52 3
Total 57 4 9 1 23 0 89 5
Barcelona 2019–20 La Liga 29 2 3 0 9[c] 0 1[d] 0 42 2
2020–21 La Liga 37 3 5 3 7[c] 0 2[d] 1 51 7
2021–22 La Liga 32 3 2 0 12[e] 1 1[d] 0 47 4
2022–23 La Liga 33 2 2 0 6[f] 0 2[d] 0 43 2
2023–24 La Liga 20 2 3 0 5[c] 0 2[d] 0 30 2
Total 151 12 15 3 39 1 8 1 213 17
Career total 256 24 25 4 62 1 8 1 351 30
  1. ^ Includes KNVB Cup, Copa del Rey
  2. ^ Appearances in UEFA Europa League
  3. ^ a b c d e Appearances in UEFA Champions League
  4. ^ a b c d e Appearance(s) in Supercopa de España
  5. ^ Six appearances in UEFA Champions League, six appearances and one goal in UEFA Europa League
  6. ^ Four appearances in UEFA Champions League, two appearances in UEFA Europa League

International[edit]

As of match played 10 September 2023[66]
Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Netherlands 2018 5 0
2019 10 1
2020 7 0
2021 16 0
2022 12 1
2023 4 0
Total 54 2
As of match played 10 September 2023[66]
Scores and results list Netherlands' goal tally first, score column indicates score after each De Jong goal.
List of international goals scored by Frenkie de Jong
No. Date Venue Cap Opponent Score Result Competition Ref.
1 6 September 2019 Volksparkstadion, Hamburg, Germany 10  Germany 1–1 4–2 UEFA Euro 2020 qualifying [67]
2 29 November 2022 Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar 48  Qatar 2–0 2–0 2022 FIFA World Cup [68]

Honours[edit]

Ajax

Barcelona

Netherlands

Individual

References[edit]

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External links[edit]